FLYING saucers were spotted hovering in Oxfordshire's skies between 1978 and 1987, Government documents have revealed.

Secret files detailing hundreds of UFO sightings across the country in the late 1970s and 1980s have been released by the Ministry of Defence.

The papers show nine sightings were logged across the county, from Blewbury to Banbury, during the nine-year period.

UFO expert Michael Soper, from Marston, Oxford - a member of the Contact International UFO research group - said there were many more sightings reported between 1978 and 1987 than the files revealed.

He said: "Unidentified flying objects do exist and it's possible we might be seeing an advanced life form, which can manifest itself in different ways.

"Crafts can come from other dimensions and they can appear, leave landing tracks and then vanish. It's completely impossible for us to understand this, because they're so incredibly advanced."

He estimated his organisation had logged between 50 and 100 reports between 1978 and 1987. The eight released Government files are part of almost 200 files set to be made available over the next four years.

The documents are available to download from the National Archives website.

Among the sightings was a spherical object the size of a couple of houses with thousands of small red lights which turned blue and then green above Farmoor. Fast-moving lights were seen over Oxford and an object in the shape of a spinning top was seen hovering over Berinsfield.

Mr Soper said there were several paranormal windows across the county where UFO sightings occurred more frequently.

He said: "The Nunnery at Port Meadow has been incredibly spooky and we have a fairly hardened team which has been spooked.

"We've had amazing things on White Horse Hill too and there was a very dramatic close encounter where some members were burned by tiny fragments coming from what appeared to be a craft. They were like ferocious fire-flies.

"Berinsfield has a huge magnetic anomaly, which may have something to do with people seeing things there."

The MoD last year released sighting reports between 1998 and 2006, when 13 incidents were logged in Oxfordshire.

Sightings noted by defence officials

October 1981: A police constable reported two bright lights moving three times faster than other bright lights in the vicinity, heading south near Oxford.

November 1981: A sales manager saw a stream of seven or eight red, blue and white lights in the sky between Aldsworth and Burford. It was a clear night at about 5.45pm when he first saw the object about half-a-mile in front of his vehicle. The file stated: "It looked extremely big but there was no noise."

September 1984: In Abingdon, one round, bright-yellow light was seen moving below the cloud for around five minutes by someone.

October 1984: An object which looked like a bright white, green and orange spinning top around 50ft in circumference was spotted above Berinsfield. It stayed in the sky for about 20 minutes.

November 1984: A spherical object the size of a couple of houses was seen moving north above Farmoor. A person from Witney, described as "quite sober and serious", reported the incident, claiming he saw thousands of small red lights on the object, which turned blue then green before fading at about 10.15pm.

November 1984: A witness reported two reddish and extremely bright spherical objects above Crowmarsh Gifford to Thames Valley Police. It remained in the sky for more than an hour.

August 1985: A Benson air cadet was on board a flight over Harwell when he saw a very "hard to determine, circular, very bright light" between Didcot and Blewbury, which headed off towards Swindon.

May 1986: A large round object with four rays of light three to four feet long appeared for a few seconds, 400ft directly above Kidlington police station.

October 1987: Someone who refused to give their name reported seeing an oblong-shaped object heading south to Bloxham, from Crouch Hill, near Banbury.